Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Angle of Separation

Judith Skillman
From Prairie Schooner, Vol. 86, No. 1 (Spring 2012)

The blue trees
of winter
stand at intervals
with naked branches.
Even when the sun touches
them like the third
circle in the archer’s
target, their burnt
cherry twigs hardly flinch.
A train passes
in the distance,
carrying its cargo
of smokers in black jackets.
How seldom,
the moments when
anguish lets go
its hold on the little
chlorine pool,
the trellised courtyard.
And it must be so
for me as well.
My break with the past
will be taken customarily,
as a crust of bread
or a few flakes of snow
falling surreptitiously
into my mouth
to sever my tongue.